Manila, Philippines – The Church begins today another liturgical year with the celebration of the season of Advent. This season is a time of joyful anticipation for the coming of Christ. He has come. He will come. And more importantly, he comes into our lives every day. During these four weeks of advent, our attitude must be one of eagerness for his arrival and joyful expectation as one expects a very special guest the Lord himself. We are reminded to be prepared for that coming.
As we joyfully await his arrival, we must also prepare ourselves for He will come to judge us. It may sound ironic but as we begin another year another chapter in our journey, the readings in the liturgy today speak of the “last days.“ We are starting a new year but we are already being told of what will happen in the end. However, such is the reality of life we must begin with the end in mind. Our whole life must be a preparation for our true encounter with the Lord. We are pilgrims on earth. We are just passing by. Our true destiny is in the Kingdom of God.
Today’s liturgical readings give us encouragement as we prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord. Like the people in the Old Testament, we too must express our longing for God’s presence in our lives. Let us learn from our ancestors in the faith. They needed God. We also need him to survive.
In the Second Reading, Saint Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, exhorted the community of believers that the best way to prepare for the coming of the Lord is to have a deep personal relationship with him. This can be done if we live in grace and have a life that is centered on God. The Gospel of Mark reminds us that we must always be watchful for we know not the time or the hour of His coming. He believes that all of us must be vigilant. Vigilance does not only mean waiting without doing anything. It means doing our tasks diligently and with all our passion.
As we enter the holy season of Advent, may the words of Jesus in our Gospel reading assure us that the God will come and rule in our lives, in our communities, and in our society. And as we are assured of His coming, may we stay vigilant and do our duties and responsibilities as his children very well.